Episode Summary:

Even though Lilah is four years old, there are still days where I grieve my life before motherhood – even though I love her beyond words, even though I love who I am becoming. This is the paradox of the both/and of motherhood and I believe it’s something that I will struggle with even 20 years from now when I have grown child(ren) out in the world. This is something that I wish was talked about more openly in the motherhood space, which is why I’m excited to have my own life coach, Charlotte Irving on the podcast today. She believes in utilizing mindfulness tools as a way to help regulate our nervous systems and navigate our most profound emotions. She has offered me so much support through the hard parts of motherhood, my divorce, and everything in between. Throughout our conversation we talk about the both/and, but also the importance of accountability, feeling all of your feelings, and more. I absolutely loved this conversation and I think you will, too.


  • How becoming a mom influenced Charlotte’s work as a counselor and why she believes more of the traditional education is disrespectful toward children 
  • Taking accountability when we haven’t shown up the way we want to as parents and the piece that a regulated nervous system plays on our actions 
  • The power of narrating what you’re feeling to honor what you’re feeling while not instantly reacting, especially in a hyper aroused state 
  • The different ways we get to model accountability and different emotions to our children to help them manage their own feelings 
  • The both/and of grieving your old life and loving your child and who you are becoming 
  • Letting go of the need for control to overcome motherhood rage while honoring and validating the harder moments 
  • What it can look like for moms to feel their feelings, especially if this is something they are uncomfortable with


About Charlotte:

Charlotte Irving holds a master’s degree in Mindfulness Based Transpersonal Counseling from Naropa University. She believes in utilizing mindfulness tools as a way to help regulate our nervous systems and navigate our most profound emotions. Above all, Charlotte encourages an authentic connection with others and strives to provide a safe and relatable atmosphere for her clients. She loves couples work and believes that partnership is one of the most wonderful opportunities for humans to access their ancient attachment trauma. Other populations Charlotte specializes include life transitions, (both the expected and unexpected), parenting, body dysmorphia and challenging relationships with food, managing anxiety, depression and, as always, meeting people in their process, wherever that may be.

Prior to her work as a psychotherapist, Charlotte worked as a school teacher, a yoga instructor and a massage therapist. These experiences contribute to and reinforce her ability to support clients in embracing challenges as opportunities for growth. She believes in a holistic approach to health and the importance of listening to innate somatic insight. Charlotte’s passion and experience helping others is evident in her presence.

Connect with Charlotte:

Read a raw, unedited transcript of this episode.

Brittni (00:02.263)

Welcome back to the Resting in Motherhood podcast. This is a conversation that has been a long time in the making. I’m so excited to have Charlotte Irving, who is a psychotherapist and life coach, and actually my life coach, which is where this episode came to be. One time, well, we chatted a lot, obviously, but one time Charlotte and I were talking and we had this really great conversation, which we will get into a little bit later. And I said, oh my gosh.

When I have a podcast, I have to have you on and I want to talk about this. And now here we are. What is it Charlotte, like two years later, a year later? Yes, but if you would just introduce yourself a little bit more Charlotte and let us know who you are, what you’re about.

Charlotte Irving (00:32.21)

Yeah, something like that. Finally, we’re here. It’s taken a while.

Charlotte Irving (00:50.158)

Yeah, thank you. Yeah, my name is Charlotte. Thanks for the introduction. I live in Boulder, Colorado. I am a holistic, holistically oriented therapist and or mental health counselor and coach, which means I see clients in person, legally in Boulder.

or in Colorado for that matter. And then I also do remote sessions for clients all over the world. I went to Naropa, which is sort of an alternative education. I don’t know if listeners know too much about Naropa University, but my master’s program was a combination of clinical psychology with mindfulness and psychospirituality. So it’s sort of a blend of.

of holding both perspectives. And I would argue it’s sort of more for higher functioning folks maybe, depending, but I loved it and it’s definitely reflective of how I, how I work.

Brittni (01:54.615)

Totally, yes. Well, and I can’t recommend you enough to anybody looking for a life coach or a psychotherapist. Charlotte is amazing. And that’s why I wanted to have you on. So if you can tell us a little bit, because yes, you this is your profession, but you are also a mama. So if you want to share, I don’t if you want to share his name, you don’t have to. But how old he is and kind of what your transition from

Charlotte Irving (02:13.678)


Brittni (02:24.759)

not being a mom into being a mom looked like and how your profession kind of impacted that.

Charlotte Irving (02:31.054)

Yeah, that’s such a great question. Yeah, so my son is named Cully, C -U -L -L -Y. He is three. He turned three on Saturday, actually. I know time flies. How did my work, it influenced it a lot. I actually, prior to moving out here and becoming a counselor, I worked in schools in New York.

Brittni (02:41.207)

Oh my gosh.

Charlotte Irving (02:57.454)

And I think a lot of the culture there was so different from how I mother and how I’ve learned to mother. And very, I guess, if I’m being frank, sort of disrespectful towards children. I remember I once was really educated on practices you talk about, which was cry it out and really sort of fell prey to the sleep.

Brittni (03:06.743)

Mm -hmm.

Charlotte Irving (03:24.718)

training community when I was watching infants. So all things I’ve really undone through essentially becoming an expert on attachment through psychotherapy. So I did have a professor actually tell our class that sleep training is child abuse. And that was so, I’m so grateful that I walked through that before entering the door of motherhood.

Brittni (03:37.367)


Brittni (03:51.607)

Wow, I want to go find this professor and have them on the podcast. But I think that something that what you really helped me with when I because I and I’ll just be an open book here. One of the big things I struggle with is that mom guilt. And so we’ve come we’ve had a lot of conversations where you’re like, Brittany, you’re a good mom.

Charlotte Irving (03:53.794)

Yeah. Yeah, that’s great.

Brittni (04:15.639)

Can we talk a little bit about like why you have these feelings of I’m a bad mom? And so I think that it can be really common when we know all of this about parenting and yet we still have this voice inside of our head, maybe because we know a little bit more, right, about attachment and all of that, but can you talk about like in your personal experience, having the principles behind it, knowing that attachment is important, knowing that validating emotions is important.

but then actually having to live that and kind of how it differs and how you’ve navigated it.

Charlotte Irving (04:47.03)

Yeah, so I think just a comment on some of what you’re referring to, if I’m understanding correctly, is that I think we can only really do all the things we say we’re going to do when we’re operating from a regulated nervous system. So in a moment where we’re dysregulated, and nervous system’s a tune.

Brittni (05:06.711)


Charlotte Irving (05:09.966)

Right? So if we have a dysregulated nervous system in the room, it’s really likely that we’re going to have another dysregulated nervous system follow suit. It’s sort of like a tuning fork. So I think that practice is really relatable, just having those moments where you’re going to hold boundaries that are firm and kind and validate. And then you’re fully dysregulated and you’ve attuned to your kid’s nervous system. And all of a sudden you’re yelling and you’re

Like, oh my gosh, I’m doing the thing I said I wasn’t gonna do. So I just have a lot of compassion for that. And to me, I think the biggest way to navigate those weeds, and this is a lot of Dr. Becky I’ve sort of picked up, I don’t know if you know her, but she’s so fantastic, and taking accountability. And I actually think that’s translated into other relationships in my life, not just parenthood, of just owning when we haven’t showed up the way we wanted to.

Brittni (05:55.359)


Charlotte Irving (06:07.749)

So I don’t know if that fully answers your question, but I do think the regulated nervous system piece is so challenging and I have so much deep compassion for that, especially when you’re sleep deprived, you’re overstimulated, you’re worn down, you’re overworked. It’s hard to stay regulated, right? Our tipping point is really fragile.

Brittni (06:28.343)


Brittni (06:32.887)

And I love that you say that because I think what most moms wanna hear is like, we’re still a good mom, even if we have those moments, right? Because we see these things on Instagram where we’re like, okay, that’s bad, I’m not going to do that. Just like you said, like we can have this picture in our head of what we’re going to do, but also accepting that like we are humans. And just like you said, we’re tired, this is a new role for us and we’re going to make mistakes and that’s okay.

Charlotte Irving (07:02.405)

Yes, and we have to thank our nervous systems for kicking into gear in a moment where they’re trying to protect us, right? And we live in these, not to get too out there, but the conditions in which we’re raising children are pretty inorganic to the process, I would say. We’re really individualized when that wasn’t always the case. There would be hundreds of people around us offering support, maybe not hundreds, but you know.

Brittni (07:09.463)


Brittni (07:21.431)


Charlotte Irving (07:32.261)

tens of people offering support.

Brittni (07:33.175)

Totally. I actually just, I was just talking to, I had like a mom’s meetup for Lila’s Forest School and they were talking about how there in the old villages, there were 10 women to one child, which can you imagine having nine other women with you every single day? Like, wow, how beautiful.

Charlotte Irving (07:47.781)

Oh my god.

Charlotte Irving (07:54.821)

Yeah. Right. I know. Talk about a more regulated nervous system.

Brittni (08:00.919)

Totally. Well, and I think the nervous system piece is a huge aspect that we always think about our child’s nervous system, right? But we’re not thinking necessarily about our own. And I love that you said you brought up the fact that like your nervous system is doing a good job because when I was really in the depths of going through my divorce and all of that, I remember I had shared with you, there are days where I just like, I don’t want to get out of bed. I just want to turn the TV on and I don’t want to do anything.

Charlotte Irving (08:08.269)

Thank you.

Brittni (08:29.815)

And you gave me this like aha moment and you were like, what a beautiful thing that your nervous system is doing what it needs to do. It’s saying, hey, I need to shut down for a little bit and this is what I need. And it was kind of like this permission to say like, oh, well, like my brain was truly doing what it needed to do in that moment.

Charlotte Irving (08:48.067)

Absolutely, absolutely. And that’s right. It happens with our kids too, right? And like you just named, it’s so easy to honor our children and where they’re at. But for ourselves, we really seem to hold ourselves to this unattainable standard in terms of what it means to be human.

Brittni (09:08.983)

Totally. Totally. So if you were talking to a mom or if you were talking to me and they were coming to you and saying, okay, like, I feel like I know all of this stuff about attachment. I know all of, like, I know I’m supposed to be responding to the emotions and yet I keep doing things that I don’t want to do. Like, what would be some advice that you have there?

Charlotte Irving (09:35.141)

Yeah, that’s a good question. I think first thing would be, sometimes I think narrating. I’ll narrate what I’m feeling because the feelings themselves are actually not a problem, right? It’s the reactivity. It’s trigger feeling and then react or trigger and respond. So I think sometimes when we feel like we have to just stuff it all inside, that’s when it comes out sideways, like yelling or snapping. So first things versus how can we,

Brittni (09:43.285)

Mm -hmm.

Charlotte Irving (10:04.645)

how can we honor what we’re feeling while not reacting? That’s a really hard thing in practice, especially when we’re in a hyper aroused state. So I think I would offer what are some ways that that might work for you and sort of ask the client. For me, I like narrating. Like, I’m really overwhelmed right now. I can see you’re having a really hard time. I’m really overwhelmed too. This is really hard. Right, fill in the blank.

So that might be, I don’t know if that would work for everyone, but that’s sort of my go -to. And it’s okay to mess it up, is what I might say. I think the most important thing is if we apologize and try again, just like marriage, just like any relationship we’re in, parenting the same thing, we show up and we try again every single day as a recommitment. Every single day. It’s not like we just get it right and then we’re good from there on out. No parent does that.

Brittni (10:57.591)


Charlotte Irving (10:58.693)

Right, we try again, it’s a moment by moment practice. So accountability is huge in our home, right, owning that we lost our cool and we were really overwhelmed and we shouldn’t have behaved that way. And we’ve actually made agreements that we don’t behave that way. And we broke the agreement and we need to own that. So that would be most important is sort of meeting the client where they’re at, coming up with tools that could help them, right.

Brittni (11:02.551)

I love that.

Brittni (11:18.295)


Charlotte Irving (11:27.043)

you know, regulate in the moment and also taking accountability with their kids. Because then we teach our kids how to apologize. How cool is that?

Brittni (11:36.279)

I was just going to say it’s so cool now that I have a four and a half year old, oh my goodness. And seeing that these things actually happen, right? Because the repair piece for me or the accountability piece, I am the first, I’m not gonna lie, I yell at Lila sometimes. And then as soon as it happens, I say, oh my gosh, I just yelled at you. You do not deserve to be yelled at. And she will, like today she was just having a really fussy morning and being really irritable. And I…

Charlotte Irving (11:51.231)

Thank you.

Charlotte Irving (12:03.341)


Brittni (12:04.663)

I didn’t really like, I wasn’t going to shame her for it. I’m like, you just woke up on the wrong side of the bed. So we’re sitting in bed later reading a book and she tells me, I’m sorry I was so mean earlier. And it was this beautiful moment, right? That like gave me chills because I didn’t like, I didn’t bring it up to her and she just knew, hey, you know what? The way I was acting probably wasn’t the best way to act and I’m going to apologize. So it just goes to show that.

Charlotte Irving (12:16.589)


Charlotte Irving (12:21.477)

Thank you.

Brittni (12:29.847)

If we weren’t messing up, we wouldn’t be giving these opportunities to apologize and model this repair.

Charlotte Irving (12:36.325)

Yeah, totally. What a beautiful moment with Lila. That’s so cool. First of all, I just want to comment on that. How special. And also just the emotion piece, right? You yell at Lila because you’re having a hard time, right? I yell at my kid too sometimes because I’m having a hard time. So as long as we can get behind the emotion and really become experts in that arena for our kids, I think they’re taking so much.

Brittni (12:41.097)


Brittni (12:53.271)


Charlotte Irving (13:05.917)

away from that. So how cool that you witnessed that in lifetime.

Brittni (13:11.703)

It’s so fun and that’s what I love about like as they grow, we’re seeing the fruits of our labor and our everything is starting to bloom.

Charlotte Irving (13:17.967)


Charlotte Irving (13:21.829)

But yeah, how beautiful. Well done.

Brittni (13:24.215)

Yes, thank you. So I wanted to kind of, and this is where our, like my inspiration for having you on came from, which is this concept of death to self, which you brought up to me one time when we were chatting, but this kind of goes ties perfectly into like the nervous system piece where can you talk a little bit about death to self and how like sometimes these moments of anger are coming because we’ve, we’re kind of mourning who we were and what we’ve lost.

Charlotte Irving (13:54.085)

Sure. Yeah, I can absolutely speak to that. So just to provide some context, I think what got me on this or so passionate about this topic was that after my son was born, I noticed I started to develop some postpartum rage. And it would come out over really small things like getting out the door to go get to the grocery store. And instead of taking three minutes, it would take, you know, however long it took, 45 minutes, two hours.

Brittni (14:20.951)


Charlotte Irving (14:23.973)

And I would get so irritated and I kind of caught myself and my husband reflect on it too, just so angry. And I really had to sit with that and look at that as much as I did not want to. What’s coming up? Why am I so angry? What am I trying to manage here essentially that I’m failing at? And I think what I really discovered was I was really.

angry and grieving that I’m not going to get out the door in five minutes anymore, as long as I have my kid with me. It’s just not going to happen. And I think I had spent so much time and seeing circles of moms sort of promoting ways to get your life back. And it’s sort of that like, not that I’m not for positive psychology, I totally am, but it was sort of on the brink of toxic positivity, right?

Brittni (14:58.071)

Mm -hmm.

Brittni (15:18.007)

Mm -hmm.

Charlotte Irving (15:18.629)

where I didn’t really have the space and the, didn’t really feel like the permission to talk about the bad mom thing to grieve, oh my gosh, this isn’t going to go the way it used to. And I’m actually really sad about that, right? Especially with my son and how we do sleep. We don’t have family out here. I always do his bedtime or my husband doesn’t. I’m not going out in the evening past his bedtime anymore.

Brittni (15:35.063)


I’m going to go to bed.

Charlotte Irving (15:46.903)

Right? And that actually wasn’t so hard for me, believe it or not. But, yeah, little, I found it more with little things, really little things, getting out the door, going on a walk and having a major meltdown and not being able to actually do my three mile walk that I was planning to do because I have a kid melting down and we actually have to go home. Right? So that was really hard. And it wasn’t until I started to just actually feel the grief of it and the death of what was.

that I started to, the rage and the anger started to go away. And it was just honoring sadness in a moment where I actually was sad about the situation at hand. And so I don’t, and it’s funny, I’m in some of these self -help groups of therapists, coaches, whatever, what have you. And I put in a group, hey, I’m thinking about starting a,

grief course for moms, just grieving your old life. And the amount, every single, I think I got 40 comments and all of them were along the lines of that’s really depressing. I’m not gonna look, I think you should try and maintain your old life and we should really focus on that. And this is a terrible idea and I don’t support it. And it really made me realize, wow, we don’t honor the grief process in this as a culture. We just won’t look at it, right? We really,

Brittni (17:09.143)


Charlotte Irving (17:13.654)

do what’s convenient for us over our kids a lot of the time, which I know not all parents do. But with that, I think just comes a lot of true loss, whether you’re, no matter what type of parent you are, right, or how you parent. There’s just, your life is never gonna be the same, at least for the unforeseeable future. What are your thoughts on that? I mean, do you agree, do you disagree?

Brittni (17:29.047)


Brittni (17:35.959)

Yeah, I totally agree. I think, and I think that it does just because we’re grieving one part of our life or losing one part, it doesn’t mean that we are, what’s the word I’m looking for? It doesn’t mean that we don’t love our children. It doesn’t mean that we aren’t embracing our role. And, but I think that when they come at you and say like, well, that’s too negative. Well, two things can coexist at one time, right? Like I love my child.

Charlotte Irving (17:52.822)

Oh, of course.

Charlotte Irving (17:58.838)

Thank you.


Brittni (18:03.639)

I love who I’m becoming as a mom and yet I miss, I’m grieving on the fact that my life will truly never be the same. Even when they’re 18, I will be in a different stage of my life and it is never going to look exactly like it did before I had a child because now I will have a child or children out in the world and part of my brain will be with them wherever they are, right? Like it’s just never the same.

Charlotte Irving (18:27.634)

Absolutely. I think they say your amygdala doubles in size after your child is born. It’s just not, biologically you’re wired differently now. And I don’t think we have enough preparation and support around that culturally.

Brittni (18:31.927)


Brittni (18:41.719)

Totally. Yeah, well, and I think that that’s what that conversation was such an aha moment for me because you talk about the guilt, right? Like you’re like, well, why am I feeling so much rage? I shouldn’t be feeling this way. Just yesterday you brought up the walk. It’s so funny. Here I am four and a half years into Lila’s life and I wanted to go on like a nice, it’s cause we’re both in the same area. You know, it’s been beautiful. It has been windy, but I’m like, we’re going out in the sunshine. We’re getting out there.

Charlotte Irving (18:52.66)

Thank you.

Charlotte Irving (19:03.294)


Charlotte Irving (19:07.638)


Brittni (19:08.535)

And then it was like this walk where like I wanted like a faster pace and like, okay, I want to get my heart rate up. And she’s like stopping every two seconds, which is so beautiful to like, look at the grass or like, mom, look at this bird. And then like also in that same walk, when are we going to get home? And I was like, Lila, the quicker you walk, the quicker we will get home. But the whole thought being like here I was like four and a half years in, and I still have those moments of like, wow, if it was just me on this walk, I could have.

Charlotte Irving (19:12.694)


Charlotte Irving (19:20.648)


Brittni (19:38.421)

doubled the amount of distance, yes. And it’s okay to grieve that, to be sad that, wow, that’s not happening for me right now. And one thing, actually, kind of a mantra that I’ve started using is, it’s not my season for that right now, which has really helped me. Just kind of reminding myself, okay, I’m not there.

Charlotte Irving (19:39.41)

Got my heart rate up. Right. Yes.

Charlotte Irving (19:59.318)

Thank you.

Brittni (20:04.055)

It’s okay to be sad about it, but I also don’t, it kind of helps me get over it and feel it, but not feel the anger.

Charlotte Irving (20:11.904)

Absolutely, and it is a season. I’m glad you named that. I think this was more an epiphany I had as a newer mother. You’re a more seasoned mother than I am actually, and I have friends with more than one kid, and I think they’re hyper aware as they go into their second round of mothering a child. Oh, everything’s a season. But when you’re doing it for round one, it’s quite intimidating. It’s really overwhelming, and I do think there’s a lot to be felt around it.

Brittni (20:19.903)


Charlotte Irving (20:41.75)

Whether we’re talking about sleep, whether we’re talking about going on a walk, it doesn’t really matter, fill in the blank. You’re really having to let go of your agenda and trust your kids. So hard.

Brittni (20:46.743)


Brittni (20:53.079)

Yes, and I actually, I just had a different conversation about this, about just accepting that kids aren’t convenient. And I think that that goes into the mourning piece too, or grieving piece too. Like, yeah, a lot of things in my life are no longer going to be easy and convenient. And it’s okay to like miss that. Just like you said, the grocery store, that’s a big one. Like, how long does it take to get our shoes on, right? But then just knowing like, okay, that season or that…

Charlotte Irving (21:09.974)


Brittni (21:22.615)

that life is behind me and it’s okay to be upset about it. And I think that that’s the biggest takeaway, like just talking to you, is feel the feelings.

Charlotte Irving (21:24.18)

Mm -hmm.

Charlotte Irving (21:31.51)

Yeah, yeah. Because if we don’t, they just come out sideways, right? They just come out later on at another point in time. I think we know this. But to actually do it is a whole other practice. To actually pause and feel our grief and feel sad when we just want to, I know for me, I just want to control. I just wanted to manage this. No, I actually don’t want to look at that. So I’m going to try and manage it and make it look different, right? And that’s where my rage would come up.

Brittni (21:37.813)


Brittni (21:46.007)


Brittni (21:59.479)


Charlotte Irving (22:00.566)

is that, hey, it’s actually not gonna work that way. I even had a friend on Saturday, Friday or Saturday, she lives in Montana and her and her husband are really big skiers and she’s very pregnant. She’s like eight months pregnant. And I think she was just, she was like, I’m just really having a lot of grief come up that I can’t go snowboarding right now. And I just thought that, I was like, yeah.

Brittni (22:05.207)

Yeah, well.

Brittni (22:18.805)

Oh god.

Charlotte Irving (22:28.526)

That’s so real, right? I think we really do blow past and try and, well, once the baby comes, you know, get a babysitter all day. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. I just think we also have to honor the moments where, yeah, this isn’t going the way it used to. It’s hard.

Brittni (22:44.151)

Yeah, and I think it’s so interesting because especially like if we’re choosing to parent in a responsive and respectful way, most of us are uber mindful of naming our child’s emotion, validating the experience, and yet we’re not doing it for ourselves. And so I think that for anybody listening, this would be my…

push to you or just to say like, this is your permission to feel your feelings. Like the more in tune that you can feel with your feelings, actually the more in tune you’re going to be able to be with your child’s feelings.

Charlotte Irving (23:13.068)


Charlotte Irving (23:21.228)

Yeah, and also the more enjoyable I’ve found life is I think Pema Chodron, she’s a meditation instructor is in her book, I think it’s called, I could be wrong with this, but I’m pretty sure it’s When Things Fall Apart. It’s her book, she talks about how the emotions themselves are not the problem. We can totally do that. It’s our unwillingness to feel them or our perception that they’re so inconvenient that we don’t want to feel them. That’s the problem. So.

Brittni (23:25.119)


Brittni (23:40.183)

Mm -hmm.

Charlotte Irving (23:50.316)

I think it definitely, of course, matters for our kids, but it matters just as much for us as we walk through what it means to be an adult. It’s so challenging, especially in today’s climate.

Brittni (23:56.151)


Brittni (24:01.847)

Yeah, well, and then we do, we live in the era of like toxic positivity, which I do think that there are more and more, we are, moms are coming out on social media and talking about how hard it is, which is wonderful. But I just, I was actually just talking to some mom friends about, there’s this, talking about the guilt piece of it, like there’s this push to like enjoy every minute. But then when we’re not enjoying every minute, we feel like,

Charlotte Irving (24:09.42)


Charlotte Irving (24:25.132)


Brittni (24:28.991)

guilty like we should be enjoying every minute and there’s this like, how do we find the balance, right? Of like, I can’t enjoy every minute and that’s okay. But the more I try to enjoy every minute, I’m actually burning myself out more and then I’m not enjoying even more time.

Charlotte Irving (24:43.692)

Yes. Oh, I have so much. That’s so relatable. I have so much compassion for that dance. Yeah, and I think it’s just the reality of what you walk through, right? I think I don’t even know how much I have to comment on that other than that’s sort of a reality of motherhood that really smacks you in the face once you enter it. I think someone said to me once, motherhood is a string of moments, right?

Brittni (24:52.245)


Charlotte Irving (25:11.637)

It’s hard and then it’s great and it’s beautiful and then it’s hard again and that’s beautiful and I think that’s actually how life is, right? Right.

Brittni (25:19.063)

Right. Yeah, I think it’s hyper, what’s the word I’m looking for? We’re hyper focused on it in motherhood because we do tend to go to the guilt side, right? So like, instead of just like seeing like, I don’t know, like you said in life, like yes, there’s ups and downs, but then in motherhood, I think we feel this pressure for it to be probably because we’re entrusted with a whole life, right? Like it’s in our hands to…

Charlotte Irving (25:43.986)

Mm -hmm.

Brittni (25:47.511)

create a beautiful life for our child. And so I get that pressure, I get that guilt, but I think it’s magnified in motherhood because we have this pressure and yet nobody’s talking to us, at least not mainstream, about it’s also okay to not enjoy every moment. It’s also okay to grieve your old life. It’s also okay to feel your feelings.

Charlotte Irving (26:12.104)

Yeah, I think that’s the only way we can do it well, right? Is if we’re real. Otherwise, it does become a heaping mess. It does come out sideways, right? And I think we need, I think like what you’re sort of your mission here, which is so beautiful, is that we need community and relation around this. Otherwise we can kind of go into our own shame spiral or our own guilt trap around how we’re doing it wrong, right? In reality, we’re all,

Brittni (26:16.791)


Brittni (26:32.599)


Brittni (26:38.487)

Yeah. Yeah, well.

Charlotte Irving (26:40.968)

doing this at the same, we’re all feeling this way. And only recently maybe are we talking about it? I don’t know. Maybe that’s not a recent thing.

Brittni (26:49.175)

And that’s the thing we don’t know, right? Because in the village, I’m sure they talked about everything, but they also were not doing it alone, right? So it probably, that aloneness was probably not felt the way that we feel it today, would be my assumption.

Charlotte Irving (26:57.576)

Mm -hmm.

Charlotte Irving (27:06.536)

Yeah, I think some of us have the way that we’re really revolutionizing parenting, which is such a beautiful thing. It makes me really compassionate towards parents who didn’t have the support, weren’t able to feel their feelings, did feel mom guilt all the time, projecting it onto their kiddos. As much as I don’t condone that behavior, I can see why it happened.

Brittni (27:14.007)


Brittni (27:26.165)


Brittni (27:31.223)

Totally, yeah. Well, and so one thing I want to ask you, and we touched on this a little bit, but one of the biggest things that you helped me with, which it seems so simple in the moment, is naming the feeling, but I still go back to that skill all the time. When I’m feeling anxious, I’m like, oh, hello, anxiety, I can feel you there. Instead of like, oh, I’m anxious, I need to fix it, now I just name the feeling and I let it ride along with me for the day.

Charlotte Irving (27:59.815)


Brittni (28:01.175)

It has helped, it’s been such a game changer, but for somebody who’s maybe never like thought about that, like, could you give some, another thing that like has really helped me as like journaling, just like you said about the grief process, like when I feel that anger, if I have the opportunity, I will go sit down with my pen and paper and be like, this is what I’m angry about. This is what I’m feeling. And the feeling after I walk away, I feel so light. So like maybe if you could give some like, and I kind of just gave a few, but some practical.

Charlotte Irving (28:10.454)


Charlotte Irving (28:24.294)


Brittni (28:28.567)

practical tips for moms who are kind of uncomfortable with feeling their feelings? Like what could that look like?

Charlotte Irving (28:33.891)

Mm -hmm. Yeah. Well, I love what you said about journaling. I think in this example, whether you journal or you don’t journal, whatever works for you is always sort of my recommendation, whatever works. But it sounds like in your example, let’s say journaling does work for somebody. What the journaling does is it gives you permission to feel the feeling. And we got to feel whatever it is we want to heal. It’s the only way we can make peace with it, essentially. So.

Another thing that I think you and I have talked about, which has been really influential in how I work and how I, whether that’s with other people or within my own system is parts. I like to categorize feelings as parts. So, and when we’re able to sort of, you know, when our nervous system is in overdrive, I think what we can do is really, we just don’t see. We’re in a fight or flight state. We’re not able to rationally go, oh, I am feeling this, so I need to take a moment and journal, right?

Brittni (29:13.621)


Charlotte Irving (29:33.124)

And so I think some of these concepts, I call this as an IFS term, internal family systems, by Richard Schwartz. He calls it unblending, where we unblend from our emotion. And basically, if we were to imagine taking it, picking it up and putting it next to us and having a conversation with it. And then we can give it a space to be seen. We can give it a space to, as much space as it needs really, to be felt and seen.

And then with that, we’re integrating it. So in that practice that you named journaling, you’re unblending there, right? You’re now noticing that this is just a part of you. This isn’t all of you. But when you’re in that fight or flight state, it feels like everything. It feels the only color you can see is rage or anxiety or whatever, fill in the blank. So we want to take that and unblend from it. And so it’s not the only lens that our outlook is.

Brittni (30:10.463)

Mm -hmm.

Charlotte Irving (30:29.41)

So some practical ways, that’s a good question. For me, I’m so brainy, I’m so cerebral. For me, it’s like thinking, it’s untangling in my mind, and also pausing. If I can just take three minutes in the bathroom or three minutes upstairs and ask myself, what am I feeling right now? Then usually I get a pretty clear response. And I think everybody’s system is different, right? That’s how mine works after years and years of practice. Some people don’t have that clarity, right?

Brittni (30:47.511)


Charlotte Irving (30:58.912)

Sometimes it takes a little while. So it’s also what do you have time for, right? The reality of motherhood, how much space, how much time do you have? How much space do you have, right? Can you go move your body? Can you go for a run? Can you go be in nature, right? Can you get quiet? Can you call up a friend? Whatever it is, I think as long as we know that the emotion is okay and it’s not all of you. It’s just what’s really alive right now.

Brittni (31:08.599)

Yeah. Yeah.

Charlotte Irving (31:28.001)

right now. And that every, every nothing is permanent, right? No state is permanent. And not to not and that’s not to invalidate. That’s just to give some hope that this is just a feeling that needs some attention. It’s not all of you. It’s not the end all be all.

Brittni (31:30.007)

I love that.

Brittni (31:45.975)

I think that one’s a really important one to remember because I have known like when I’m in those state like dark spaces where I’m like, I need to run away and change my whole life, right? Like I jumped to like the extreme and just like reminding myself this is not permanent. That one’s really helpful.

Charlotte Irving (32:01.504)

Yes. Yeah, and sometimes the part itself, I’m calling it a part, the emotion, whatever you want to call it, actually feels that it’s forever. I have some of those parts too, where let’s say I’m having really high anxiety. Part of what the anxiety believes or part of what the part believes is that this is going to be forever and I’m doomed forever. Right. And to be able to go, oh, wow, I have a part coming up that really thinks this is never going to get better or that this is going to be this way indefinitely. Interesting.

Brittni (32:23.349)


Charlotte Irving (32:31.552)

I mean, those are two really different energies. Having the part or the feeling, whatever you want to call it, in the driver’s seat versus putting it on the bench and sitting next to it.

Brittni (32:41.879)

Totally. Well, and that’s when I brought up the anxiety piece. That was like a total part piece, right? Like now when the anxiety comes, I’m like, oh, hello, anxiety. You can join me along for my day. I’m not going to try to fix you. I recognize that you’re here, but the more I like, because I think that was one thing that happened for me is like, I would feel guilty for feeling the anxiety, right? Or I would be trying to fix it. Whereas instead I just say, you’re here. I recognize that you’re here. I’m not going to try to necessarily fix you. You’re just allowed.

Charlotte Irving (32:46.56)

Thank you.



Charlotte Irving (33:01.152)


Brittni (33:10.987)

to join me on my day and the more, the less I focused on it and just kind of like you said, put it in the back seat or put it in the passenger seat, then I have control over my life again.

Charlotte Irving (33:21.695)

Yeah, and it’s counterintuitive in the moment when you’re really crippled by it, right? But it does, I mean, you can attest to this. It does help.

Brittni (33:26.359)

Totally, yeah.

Brittni (33:31.509)

Oh my gosh, life changing. Like I still use it all the time.

Charlotte Irving (33:32.731)


Yeah, yeah. So I’m so glad that that’s been helpful for you. So I think, you know, and I think this is a tall order for all people to go to therapy, but if you can’t go to therapy, you know, ways in which you can seek out self -help, whether it be through social media, what you’re doing is fantastic. I think normalizing how hard this is and teaching our people learning how do I navigate emotions and what are emotions?

Brittni (33:45.683)


Charlotte Irving (34:05.182)

is a whole new, you know, it’s just sort of a whole new educational piece that we’re just really being exposed to daily.

Brittni (34:15.511)

Totally, yeah, well, and I think it’s because most of us were not parented the way that we are parenting. A lot of us are parenting now, right? But I kind of had this aha moment when you were talking about the unblending piece, because if we think about our children, their brains cannot unblend, especially until about the ages of five to seven. They feel one feeling and that is it. They can’t feel like two feelings at the same time. And so…

Charlotte Irving (34:19.742)

Mm -hmm.

Charlotte Irving (34:31.353)


Charlotte Irving (34:38.045)

Yeah, there’s no off button.

Brittni (34:40.087)

Right. So what a powerful tool to think about it this way when we’re, and I’m kind of changing the topic a little bit, but when we’re helping our children regulate, we’re unblending for them. And so like, what a beautiful gift to be able to fully unblend ourselves so that when our child is there, we can really regulate with them and understand like, okay, they’re feeling this piece. How can I kind of regulate them and bring them back to homeostasis?

Charlotte Irving (35:08.06)

Yeah, and it sounds like the way in which we can do that best or what you’re describing is just validation, right? This is really hard. You’re really frustrated. Do I have that right? Right? And then a kid can actually settle knowing that it’s actually safe to feel what I’m feeling. I don’t need to make it go away. It might not be enjoyable, but it’s actually okay. That’s basically what we’re doing for ourselves and for our kids.

Brittni (35:14.103)

Totally, yeah.

Brittni (35:18.613)


Brittni (35:26.549)


Brittni (35:31.995)

Yeah, and I was just going to say that the easier it’ll be as a parent to do that for our child if we give ourselves the permission and time to do it for ourselves.

Charlotte Irving (35:41.532)

Yes, yes, easier said than done, especially depends what resources you have, what you’re exposed to, but it is a beautiful, effective practice, as you know, firsthand.

Brittni (35:45.079)

I know.

Brittni (35:53.207)

Yes, yes. Well, this was such an amazing conversation, Charlotte. I’m so thankful for your time. Do you have anything you want to kind of, what am I trying to say, finish up with or any parting words?

Charlotte Irving (36:07.107)

First of all, thank you so much for having me. And I just want to give you some credit too, is that something we didn’t talk about today, and I’m sure you’ve talked about this with other guests on your podcast, but you’re so supportive to new moms. When I became a mother, I felt so much pressure to sleep train. And it wasn’t until I found accounts like yours that I was really able to let that go.

Brittni (36:10.679)

Of course.

Brittni (36:25.271)

Thank you.

Charlotte Irving (36:36.282)

So I just, I’ve referred you to so many people who struggle with this. It’s such an area of kind of falls in the grief category of doing it your way and really letting go of what other people think. It’s a hard space to be in. So you’ve just been really instrumental in that for me and I know for a lot of your viewers. So just some kudos to you and gratitude.

Brittni (36:45.911)


Brittni (36:58.487)

Thank you so much.

Charlotte Irving (36:59.61)

Yeah, thank you for having me. This was fun.

Brittni (37:02.007)

Yes. So where can we, because I know you said that you do, you can work like globally, right? With people. Yes.

Charlotte Irving (37:07.161)

Yes, so I am both a therapist and a coach. So, and you can read a little bit on my website about the difference between the two. They’re quite similar, but just on paper, they’re different. So my website is my name charlotteirving .com. And you can read a little bit about how I work and where I work. I live in Colorado. So for therapy, which I can do in person remotely, that’s…

Brittni (37:20.471)


Charlotte Irving (37:36.025)

that’s only in the state of Colorado. But if anybody’s interested in coaching, I can do that from wherever for my laptop. So.

Brittni (37:43.959)

Perfect, thank you. Yes, and I cannot recommend you enough. Like I said, you have been life -changing for me. And I also emailed you just the other week. And I was like, I need to actually schedule a session, right? Which is beautiful because we’ve gone a long time without talking and now new things come up. And it’s, I think, I know it is, what am I trying to say? It is a luxury or a, there’s a word I’m looking for that I cannot think of, but for lack of a better word, I know it is a luxury to be able to,

Charlotte Irving (37:50.713)

Thank you.

Charlotte Irving (37:57.718)


Brittni (38:13.431)

work with a therapist or a coach, but highly recommend it in motherhood because I think that, like you said, we don’t have the village around us. And while like a village is built with friends and family, I think we can also be really mindful of cultivating our village and like a therapist, like, right? Like I consider you part of my village, right? You provide support in a way that maybe somebody else in my life couldn’t. So.

Charlotte Irving (38:15.478)


Charlotte Irving (38:28.312)


Charlotte Irving (38:38.583)

sure, absolutely.

Brittni (38:39.703)

Yeah, I just want to recommend you, I will share Charlotte’s website below in the show notes, but thank you again so much, Charlotte, for being here.

Charlotte Irving (38:47.831)

Yeah, thank you for having me. Take care.

Brittni (38:50.359)


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